Paying for College: Scholarship Search

January 2, 2012

If you need financial aid, the biggest benefit for you is to find the right scholarship through online directories and searches. These are vast databases that can allow you to search by multiple characteristics of awards, such as grants, loans, scholarships, and internships that match your education level, background and talents. You can find lists of awards at places like YourTuition.com, which offers you hundreds of potentially viable ways to figure out financial aid sources. Finding the right scholarship means that you have to give some personal information about yourself. The more account information that you provide, the better the odds that you find the right scholarship and match yourself with bigger financial aid sources. To start, you’ll need to find places that are specifically tailored for education. You may even want to look at places that are designed for your major or sign up for a newsletter for scholarship programs to receive alerts when a new scholarship is available.

Starting the Search

One good place to start a search is through Collegeboard. With this tool, you can search hundreds of scholarships and narrow them down to your exact interests. You have to enter some personal information, academic information and choose the type of award from a list. After you complete the form, you’ll be given all of the awards that meet your criteria. With most scholarships, you can work on the application right away. You should start filling out applications for student aid as soon as possible. Many high school seniors start the process right after they apply for colleges. You can figure out your financial award information months before school starts, which puts you in a great place for school.

Learning More About Scholarships

The right scholarships are going to be tailored to your degree. However, other scholarship programs do not discriminate on your program. If you contact your college advisor, you can get a list of scholarships offered specifically for your department or general scholarship awards. The best places to go are education websites that also offer all types of information on degrees and education grants. These will be the best places for information and you can usually find at least 10 scholarships to immediately apply for. Once you start applying for scholarships, you should know within a few months, whether you were accepted. The most important part is filling out all parts of the scholarship application and working hard on the essay portion.

Early and Late Deadlines

Generally speaking, you want to apply for a scholarship as soon as it becomes available. There are more chances that your application will get more attention if seen earlier, rather than later when the abundance of applications will start to flow in. You should make a note if a scholarship has an early deadline. This is the way that most students are able to get the award before someone else. However, you also want to note the final deadline. You always want to make sure that you mail out any information or apply for the scholarship way ahead of the deadline. That just gives you more room to breathe during the process. There are also important deadlines to consider for federal aid. FAFSA has a strict deadline, though some applicants may apply later. You can find out more information about the schedule for FAFSA by clicking here.

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